4 years ago

AL Attorney: How Partisan Tensions Are Destroying Relationships and How We Can Fix them (opinion)

At no time since the Civil War began has our country seen this level of partisan tension. In a survey done in 1960, less than 10 percent of Americans said they would have a problem marrying someone from the other political party. In 2010 that number shot up to nearly 50 percent. Also, according to Shanto Iyengar, a professor of political science Stanford University, “In the 1950s and 1960s party affiliation made virtually no difference to interpersonal relations.” However, since the divisive 2016 election we are now seeing partisan tension dramatically affect our lives, From couples divorcing and friendships ending, to widespread boycotts and politically inspired acts of violence, D.C.’s political climate has undoubtedly created turmoil across the country.

The New York Times wrote an article entitled “Political Divide Splits Relationships – and Thanksgiving, Too.” In this article, family after family is ripped apart by the election. One daughter described in the article calls and forbids her parents from seeing their grandchildren ever again due to political differences. One man’s mother claims she, “no longer had a son.” While each family has their own unique history, there is one constant in each story listed in the article. In every case it was the Trump Supporter who was singled out and cut off from the rest of the family. In the article, the Times points out, “Democrats have dug in their heels, and in some cases are refusing to sit across the table from relatives who voted for President-elect Donald J. Trump.”

Trump supporters have not been completely free of political resentments either. During the election, many called their fellow supporters to boycott companies that didn’t align with their views. Macy’s was boycotted for not holding Trump’s clothing line. Oreos were boycotted when they moved their company to Mexico, and Ben & Jerry’s was singled out for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Personally, I could never boycott Ben & Jerry’s because their ice cream is just too delicious.

Democrats had their fair share of boycotts during the election as well. In Detroit, Democrats singled out Don Studvent, owner of the restaurant 1917, for catering a breakfast for Donald Trump, Jr. Though Studvent is a Clinton supporter and has signs supporting her outside his restaurant, he had only two tables filled during what he says was his busiest lunch hour. Studvent argues that the choice to cater for Donald Trump, Jr., was strictly business and that he “can’t take sides” when dealing with his business because he has employees to pay.

The politically inspired boycotts did not end on election night. One political activist group, the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, is attempting to sway the future of healthcare through boycotts. The group calls for the boycott of any restaurant that allows a Congress member who voted to repeal Obamacare to eat. Scott Dworkin, an adviser to group said, “Restaurants who don’t ban Members will be boycotted by D.C. residents and close down. We’ve done it before – It worked.”

While anecdotal, the above examples give a glimpse into the lack of civility in our country. In some instances, such political hostility has been known to evoke violence. For example, four teens tortured a mentally disabled teen (who supported Trump) on Facebook Live. Reportedly, the teens threatened the boy with a knife and forced him to drink toilet water. While incidents like this are rare , it is emblematic of the partisan tension that exists.

The solution to the problem of partisan tension isn’t that we all must agree with each other. Americans have always had a diversity of viewpoints on issues, and that is the mark of a free society. However, we cannot subscribe to the mindset that because someone has a different viewpoint that makes them not worthy of our respect or friendship. Many people come to their views honestly after they have given it much thought, and it is foolish for us to demand that people in our lives see the world as we do. Personally, some of the best friendships I have had were with people who didn’t believe virtually anything I did. But what was great about those friendships is that we actually challenged each other by listening to each other’s viewpoint.

There is so much we can learn from each other if we stop yelling and start listening. Listening doesn’t mean we compromise our principles or our faith but it does mean that we try to show respect to each other and demonstrate that even though we disagree we can still show that we care. I once heard a pastor say “No one cares what you say until they know that you care” and that is how we can heal partisan tension. If you really want to persuade people to your way of thinking ,first listen to what they have to say and show them you care, and I promise they will be much more open to what you have to say. Don’t miss out on quality friendships because of different worldviews, just treat people well whatever they believe, understanding that they may or may not come around to your point of view. We must remember that being a good friend is more important than being right, so let’s all do our part to show respect to each other and be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.


Mr. Reid is general practice attorney in Birmingham Alabama. He has worked for Republican leadership in the United State House of Representatives in Washington, DC, and was a health policy advisor to the Governor of Alabama. You can contact him by email at chris.reid@reidlawalabama.com or by phone at 205-913-7406. A description of his practice areas is available at www.reidlawalabama.com.

5 hours ago

Ivey lights official state Christmas tree – ‘Merry Christmas to each of you’

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Governor Kay Ivey on Friday took part in the traditional annual lighting of the official State of Alabama Christmas Tree located on the steps of the capitol.

“Let this be a year you do a little bit more, and give a little bit more,” said Governor Ivey to those assembled.

“Merry Christmas to each of you and to all families across Alabama,” she added.

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed introduced Ivey at the ceremony and praised her “steady leadership” during a tumultuous year. Ivey later thanked him for his “dedicated leadership” of Alabama’s capital city.

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Around 200 citizens braved temperatures in the mid-40s to take in the lighting ceremony. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, masks were required for attendance at the ceremony.

“I’m incredibly grateful we’re able to safely keep this Christmas tradition alive,” Ivey said of the circumstances.

Alabama’s 2020 tree was donated by Robbins Taylor, Sr. of Lowndes County. The Eastern Red Cedar is 35 feet tall and required a crew from the Alabama Department of Transportation for its installation.

Major General David J. Francis, commanding general of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, reminded the crowd in attendance that the Christmas standard “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” was written from the perspective of a soldier forced to be away from home during World War II.

“This is a great reminder to remember all our service members, including the members of the greatest generation, the deployed members who will not be with their loved ones this holiday season, and the many who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” Francis added.

“Christmas is a direct reminder of the hope we find in Jesus Christ,” mentioned the governor, who makes her Christian faith a mainstay of her public persona.

“Through the birth of a baby boy over two thousand years ago, we can find salvation, peace, and purpose in our lives,” Ivey continued.

“For many of us, including myself, that hope and faith has been what has guided us through these difficult challenges of 2020,” she told the public.

“May God continue to bless our state,” the governor concluded.

Watch:

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

7 hours ago

Palmer: Pelosi, Democrats prioritize pot legalization over COVID-19 relief

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) raised eyebrows this week by calling the House of Representatives into session and pushing through votes on legislation that would legalize marijuana and ban private ownership of exotic animals — known as the “Tiger King” bill.

Congressman Gary Palmer (AL-06) released a scathing statement on Friday decrying Pelosi’s prioritization of these bills over much-needed COVID-19 relief for the American people.

“Speaker Pelosi and her clueless Democrat colleagues have proven over and over again that their top priorities do not include the hardworking Americans who need help to get through this pandemic,” Palmer said.

“This week, their prioritization of pot legalization while people are struggling is a stunning display of partisan politics and shows just how out of touch Democrats are with the American people,” he continued. “The timing of this bill not only reflects a disregard for the businesses that need further relief funding, but also for the rampant mental health and drug overdose issues exacerbated by the pandemic.”

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Entitled the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act), the marijuana legalization passed the House on Friday by a vote of 228-164. The only Alabama representative to support the measure was Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL-07), a Democrat.

“Federal surveys show that since the coronavirus arrived in the U.S., depression and anxiety have been on the rise, with a concerning 75% of young adults now struggling with at least one mental health or drug problem,” Palmer explained. “The Center for Disease Control has also predicted that the U.S. could see 75,500 drug overdose deaths in 2020 if recent trends hold. Pelosi’s pot bill is even more unconscionable with these concerning facts in mind, especially as it ignores common sense safety measures around marijuana use, and also funnels taxpayer dollars to the marijuana industry and convicted drug dealers. In short, the bill would grant easier access to a gateway drug for already vulnerable and struggling people.”

The Central Alabama congressman concluded, “Furthermore, at a time when we should be helping people with employment opportunities, this bill would move us in the wrong direction. Companies with drug-free work environments, many of them also hazardous work environments, should not and will not employ people who might come to work drug-impaired, endangering themselves and others. I hope we don’t waste more opportunities next week for needed relief.”

Palmer, as the chair of the Republican Policy Committee, is the fifth-highest ranking member of the House GOP.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

8 hours ago

WWII vet finishes fight with COVID-19, turns 104 the next day

A World War II veteran in Alabama was released from the hospital this week after a battle with the coronavirus. He turned 104 years old on his first day back home.

Major Wooten, the veteran in question, has become something of a minor celebrity in recent years for his joyful approach to life at his advanced age.

Wooten turned heads in recent years during his trip to Normandy to celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Similar lines cheered his return to the airport and his exit from the hospital earlier this week.

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An ardent Alabama fan, Wooten again made headlines earlier this year when Nick Saban gave him a call after a health scare in the spring.

RELATED: Nick Saban surprises 103-year-old WWII veteran with Facetime call

Wooten is from Cullman and was cared for at Madison Hospital during his fight with COVID-19.

His exit from the hospital has garnered attention across the nation, with the Associated Press publishing a widely circulated story and ABC’s World News Tonight featuring Wooten in a segment.

Watch employees of Madison Hospital sing Happy Birthday to Major Wooten:

 

Major Wooten turns 104!

Mr. Major Lee Wooten won his battle with COVID-19 in time to be home to celebrate his 104th birthday. Mr. Wooten, who is a veteran and warmly known as “Pop Pop,” is described by his granddaughter as “their family’s treasure.” Please join us in wishing Mr. Wooten a very, happy birthday!

Posted by Madison Hospital on Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

9 hours ago

Alabama receives over $50M from Dept. of Interior for energy produced in state

The State of Alabama is receiving $50.29 million from the federal government as a disbursement for energy that was produced in a federally owned area of the state.

Alabama’s funds come as part of a $1.81 billion payout to 34 states announced by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt on Friday.

The revenue sent to states Friday “was collected from oil, gas and mineral production on federal lands within the states’ borders and from offshore oil and gas tracts in federal waters adjacent to their shores,” according to a release from the department.

Virtually all of Alabama’s portion of the money was generated by offshore drilling, per the data available on an Interior Department web portal.

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Alabama’s payment was ninth highest in the nation. New Mexico took the top spot with $706.96 million followed by Wyoming, Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota, Colorado, Utah and Mississippi.

American Indian Tribes received $1 billion as part of the process; 100% of the revenue from the energy generated on their lands.

“[T]hese disbursements also go right back to the states and Tribes where the energy was produced, providing critical funding for schools, public services, conservation improvements and infrastructure projects that create good-paying American jobs,” said Bernhardt on Friday.

The over $50 million announced as on its way to Alabama on Friday is the state’s total for fiscal year 2020 that ended September 30. It is the largest amount the state has received under the disbursement policy in the last decade.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

11 hours ago

Aderholt tests positive for COVID-19, is asymptomatic

Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) on Friday announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19 but is displaying no symptoms.

Aderholt originally went into quarantine on November 15 after learning he had been in close contact with someone who subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. Right after completing his 10-day quarantine period, Aderholt’s wife, Caroline, tested positive and he once again went into quarantine.

Under new CDC guidelines that allow for a seven-day quarantine if followed by a negative test result, Aderholt on Thursday received a COVID-19 test to ascertain if he could exit quarantine and resume voting on the House floor.

“I fully expected to receive a negative test, because I have felt, and continue to feel fine, and have no symptoms. Unfortunately, I received word Friday morning that my test came back positive. After speaking with the Attending Physician for Congress, I will continue to isolate,” he advised in a statement.

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Aderholt also said that his wife has recovered from the virus after experiencing mild symptoms.

During his original quarantine, Aderholt had isolated himself away from his wife and the rest of his family.

The dean of Alabama’s U.S. House delegation, Aderholt is a senior member of the Committee on Appropriations, including serving as the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science and as a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Subcommittee and the Defense Subcommittee.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn